Generally speaking, there are amazing benefits to being an expat: the ability to travel to new places, immersing yourself in a beautiful new culture, forming friendships with people your path wouldn't have crossed if not for these unique opportunities. It's pretty special under normal circumstances.
But things have changed. The world is different, and because of this, so is our experience. Even so, extraordinary moments continue to present themselves thanks to these forged friendships.
This past week, a dear friend from my onigiri group invited us to her friend's home in Abiko, Chiba. We were welcomed with the intention of enjoying a tempura lunch (as taught by our hostess then cooked beside her) and being dressed in her personal collection of kimono.
As she dressed us, our hostess Reiko-san told us the stories behind the various robes, how simple or difficult they were to put on, what they colors represented, how to wear them properly-it was such a gift!
Not to worry-we did this before cooking. No kimono were injured in the making of this outing.
By the time we'd all been dressed and photographed we were all ready to enjoy a home-cooked meal! Reiko-san invited us into her kitchen, shared her special tempura recipe with us, then showed us how to properly make our meal using seasonal fish and veggies.
The meal didn't take long to cook, but the care and effort put into every part made the day incredibly special. It was so much more than any of us could have imagined. Thank you again to our sweet friend, Fumie, for making the day possible, and Reiko-san and friend for making us feel so welcome. It was such a unique experience, and a truly fabulous day.